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Travel Blogger Tell All – Tales from Over the Horizon

Ø       Who are you?

I’m Zoe Byrne; traveler, explorer, blogger, and fear hater from Tales from Over the Horizon.

Ø       Where are you from/Where’s home?

Sunny remote New Zealand; the land of beautiful mountains, stunning forests, awesome weird birds, sheep, the Lord of the Rings, poor internet, and more sheep.

Ø       What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?

Backpacker and becoming full time (expat at the moment, haven’t quite got the hang of location independent employment). The only time I get any luxury is when there isn’t a budget option available – like when I went to North Korea. You can’t independently, so I had the cheapest tour company, but we stayed in a 5 star hotel in the capital Pyongyang regardless.

I stretch my money as far as it can go. I’d much rather visit another museum, go on another hike, do more scuba diving or watch another cultural performance than spend more money on the place I’ll spend most of my time asleep in, or a brief time travelling in anyway. I will sometimes spend more money on food – like when I was in Beijing and wanted to try Peking Duck, but mostly I love street food, or tiny hideaway local restaurants.

That being said, as much as I try to budget, I will splurge a little to see things I really want to. I aim to live and travel (basically the same thing) with no regrets, and I’d much rather blow my budget on occasion than go ‘Ha! I stayed within my budget and missed something.’ I ended up in expensive accommodation in Mohe – I could find no other options and I went Hot air ballooning over the West Bank of Luxor for example. Totally worth it.

Ø       Where was the first trip you took?

To Sydney when I was 6 with my family. My first solo trip was to the Chatham Islands when I was 19. (They are so cool)

Ø       Do you have any funny or crazy travel stories?

I managed to visit the police station on my first day in Harbin. That takes talent.

Ø       What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?

I haven’t really travelled to any bad places. Every place is somewhere new and interesting. Possibly the most lack lustre place I have been to was Trieste in Eastern Italy. That may be unfair because the next place I went to was Venice, which was fantastic, and would have over-shadowed almost anything.

Ø       Where is your favourite place in the world?

Possibly Venice. As I say don’t judge Trieste too harshly. I thought Venice was absolutely amazing and magical – I definitely want to go back one day and stay a little longer. I loved everything about it, the architecture; the canals, the other islands in the Lagoon. It was so beautiful. I’d love to live there for a while. It is truly a unique place.

Ø       How do you fund your travels?

I teach English and I penny pinch. I have been teaching English in Harbin in China for a year and a half. I am also starting to get into freelancing.

Ø       What is your most fond memory from your travels?

Ahhh! I have so many! Swimming with the Whales in Tonga was definitely a highlight. They are amazing creatures.

Ø       What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?

Saving up to travel. Really anything else just wouldn’t cut it for more than a few months.

Ø       Have you ever experiences any cultural faux pas?

I am a very independent person. I will always do it myself and ask only if I really need to. In China, there is a strong tradition of ‘you must ask your friends,’ or it is an insult.When I was booking train tickets I took some basic instructions to the ticket office from Google translate to gloss over my bad tones. It usually works fine, but this time google translate had screwed it up, and the ticket lady called my school which was in the same building.  One of the Chinese staff came down to help, and kept on asking me why I did not ask for help. I felt so guilty!!

Ø       What is your Favourite airline?

The cheapest one I can find. I don’t often fly to be honest – it is so much more expensive than other forms of transport. I prefer to take a train, bus or boat if it is at all practical. They are cheaper and there is more to see.

Ø       Where are you off to next?

I have a 3 month trip through China planned from Harbin through to Hong Kong via lots of places (Xian, Tibet, The Yangtze River, Leshan, Datong, Lugu Lake, and much more). I’m really excited – I leave in just a few weeks. Then I’ll be in South East Asia and I’m up for anything.


Ø       What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?

My blog is called Tales from Over the Horizon. I have always stared out at the horizon and wondered what was over it. The possibilities were endless. The word was out there – just out of sight. I remember sitting in the car anywhere from the New Zealand to Western Ireland and gazing out with Wanderlust. “South America is over there” I’d think. “Just imagine Easter island and Machu Picchu!” or “Australia is over there. Imagine Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef!” I love the idea of finally being able to explore over that horizon and write about it.

Ø       When did you start blogging?

May 2014.

Ø       Where did you start blogging?

Harbin in China!

Ø       Why did you start a Travel blog?

Because I’d been planning to for ages and it was high time I finally got over myself and did it. I’d tried to start it in the last year of uni – but as I was studying Biochemistry and Genetics that was not really a good time to do it.

I have always loved travelling. First and foremost I am a traveller, but I have also liked to write. I wanted to be a writer when I was 14 before my curiosity led me back to studying science. With blogging I get to incorporate something I’ve always liked with my greatest obsession and what will likely be my life’s focus for a while to come. (If not forever).

Ø       Do you wish you did differently when you started out?

I have only just learnt to edit photos. So wish I’d known how to before. I’m still learning loads on that front.

Ø       What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?

Challenges Travelling as a Woman – The Menstrual Cycle. The title is fairly self explanatory. It is about various methods to help deal with the menstrual cycle while travelling.

Ø       Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?

I’m just getting sorted out on the blogging scene. I’m not familiar enough with sponsors to have dream sponsor yet.

Ø       Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?

No sorry. I’ve never worked with a sponsor before.

Ø       Which travel bloggers do you admire?

Many. Adventurous Kate, Youthful Adventuress, Be my Travel Muse, The Wandering Orange, My WanderList, Mapping Megan, Wandering Earl, Fearful Adventurer, etc etc

Ø       Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Don’t give up, don’t let life get in the way; don’t let your own fears or anybody else’s stop you. Your dream is completely attainable. You need to prioritize working for it.

Ø       What is your Travel Motto:

Er I have several.

”Try everything at least once”

“Life starts outside your comfort zone”


“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now!”

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Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!

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  1. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Zoe, how fantastic, you are next on my list of peeps to catch up on. Love your story, your posts are so valuable and very detailed. Makes for easy planning. 🙂 Great post guys! Hope you are both well and digging the first week of 2015. Cheers, Anna

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